In December last year, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive Officer for the NHS spoke about the possibilities of a career in the National Health Service. I read the piece with interest because this is something we continuously aim to highlight and progress across the Tees Valley.
It is no great secret that there are workforce issues across the health care sector, and we work hard as an organisation to remedy the gaps we experience. From our robust nursing recruitment strategy (we frequently report just 1-2% vacancy rates) to our resettlement programme for overseas doctors and health care professionals, we innovate.
We talk about the landscape here in the hospital – our performance, our CQC ‘good’ rating, our positive culture and our ambitions for excellence as our standard. We talk about the standard of living available in the North East and North Cumbria – our coastal and country landscapes and our low house prices. But I wonder if we are talking loudly enough to those that need to hear it most?
Our Trust benefits from a fantastic education team who link in with local schools and colleges to showcase careers in our hospitals. However, when we look at the profiles of our staff working within specialist career paths, they are typically from outside of our area.
We have spent much of our time in recent years talking about being aspirant for the population health across the Tees Valley. We want to eradicate any health inequalities our communities may face, and empower them to direct and navigate their own health outcomes. The old adage ‘prevention better than cure’ has never been so pertinent.
But in order for the region to thrive, we must also have a strategy for our workforce of tomorrow that includes the youngest members of our communities. In a world where information is available at the touch of a button, or a voice command into a ‘connected home assistant’ the more we need to make accessible about the opportunities within our hospitals.
There are over 350 different careers within the NHS, every one of them making a difference to people’s lives every day. If we talk to the children of our region about the possibilities of surgeons from Stockton and hematologists in Hartlepool, we start to invest in the future.
An aspirant future for this region cannot solely depend on investment from outside. Now is the time for us to use our voices and make the NHS a destination of career choice.
Our Trust is one of the biggest employers in the area, with some of the most interesting career options many people may never even have heard of. In 2020, our teams plan to showcase many of these opportunities, watch out for them, share them with our young people. Make them aspirant.